Mass flow meters for industrial processes and plant air/gas measurement applications

With the addition of the Modbus communication protocol to its new ST80 series, recently enhanced ST51A/ST75A series, and ST100 series and multipoint MT100 series, Fluid Components International (FCI) now provides the industry’s broadest selection of Modbus compatible thermal mass air/gas meters.

For Modbus-based measurement and control systems, with air or gas flow rate components, FCI can now provide an optimal, highest value flow meter solution matched to the application. FCI thermal mass flow meters with Modbus I/O are available for line sizes from 6 mm to the largest of stacks and ducts, and every size in-between.  They are designed to measure the flow of air and more than 200 different gases, including inert and hydrocarbon-based, in both pure and mixed compositions.

Thermal mass air/gas flow meters are direct mass flow measuring, have no moving parts to foul or clog, and require no routine maintenance that achieve lowest installed cost and superior service life.

READ MORE: FCI T80/ST80L mass flow meters

FCI’s family of Modbus compatible thermal flow meters range from small, compact models to high feature, high performance, high accuracy models. Models are available that carry global agency approvals for Ex installations, both Div.1/Zone1 and Div.2/Zone 2 types.  Four of the series’ carry independently evaluated SIL compliance (IEC 61508) ratings for use in safety instrumented system applications.

All FCI thermal flow meters are available in a vast choice of process connections to ensure compatibility with virtually any piping and installation criteria. The instruments are inherently dual function and can provide flow and temperature measurement, as well as totalized flow, outputs over the Modbus connection.

The Modbus option for all five FCI model series flow meters meets the EIA/TIA-485 standard. Transmission is via RTU or ASCII with standard MS (16 bit), standard LS (16 bit) or Daniel extensions (32 bit).  They’re ideal for use with PLCs, large SCADA systems or DCS systems.

In addition to Modbus, FCI’s thermal air/gas flow meters also provide 4-20 mA, analogue outputs, pulse outputs, and/or other digital bus communications of HART, Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus-PA and Profibus-DP.

Michael Spaans resigns from Fonterra Board

Dairy processor Fonterra’s  Director Michael Spaans has stepped down from the Board of the co-operative with effect from 31 January 2017 due to ill health.

Fonterra Chairman John Wilson said that Michael Spaans’ tireless contribution to the New Zealand dairy industry has been significant both inside and outside the Fonterra boardroom.

“Michael, a dairy farmer, came up through the ranks, spending time on the New Zealand Dairy Group Shareholder Council and then the Fonterra Shareholders’ Council before building his governance experience outside the industry,” Mr Wilson said. “As a result, his insights and experience are invaluable, particularly on Fonterra’s Milk Price Panel, Audit and Finance Committee and the Co-operative Relations Committee.”

Fonterra said that it has agreed with Michael that, when he is given a clean bill of health, he should consider standing again for the Fonterra Board.

Fonterra also announced that the Board has appointed Mr Ian Farrelly as a Director to fill the vacancy created with Mr Spaans stepping down. Mr Farrelly spent nine years as a Fonterra Director until retiring in December 2016.

Mr Wilson said that the Fonterra Constitution allowed for an appointment to fill a casual vacancy and that Mr Farrelly’s appointment to fill the casual vacancy would continue until the 2017 Annual Meeting.

“Ian is a highly qualified director with very recent and valued experience on the Board,” said Mr Wilson. “We are very grateful that he has agreed to continue his contribution to Fonterra”.

Image: Fonterra

Tank cleaning system does the job for dairy processor

A Pennsylvania milk company utilises vertical spray dryers to produce large quantities of milk powder. With sizes of up to 22 feet in diameter and up to 60 feet high, the facility’s spray dryers can produce a total upwards of 4,000kg of milk powder per hour.

During the manufacturing process fluid milk is evaporated to 50 per cent solids and then injected under high pressure into the 200-plus°C environment inside the spray dryer where it flash dries.

The dry milk then drops to the bottom of the unit and is discharged into bulk containers. Vibrators help remove any powder which may adhere to the sides of the cone. However, over time, the milk builds up on the inside of the dryer and must be removed during routine cleaning. In order to maintain high production efficiencies and product quality, close attention is paid to maintaining the cleanliness of the spray dryer interiors.

Until recently, the company utilised traditional spray balls and high pressure water injection to clean the dryers. The routine cleaning cycle usually consisted of two 45 minute wash cycles utilising a 2 per cent sodium hydroxide caustic solution and a 1 per cent nitric acid wash, interspersed with 20 to 30 minute rinses.

A thorough cleaning of the entire unit often required up to 16 separate insertions of the spray ball by cleaning personnel into various openings throughout the dryer. This was a very time consuming and labor- intensive operation to ensure that all the areas were cleaned. Water usage throughout the process was approximately 946 litres per minute.

With a standard cleaning process to measure against, the company’s Manager of Engineering and Maintenance had the opportunity to install and utilize two rotary impingement cleaning machines manufactured by Gamajet Cleaning Systems, Inc. The Gamajet 4 and Gamajet E-Z8 cleaning machines are fluid driven tank cleaners that utilize the cleaning solution for power and provide 360° cleaning with low flow rates and high speed.

The Gamajet 4, because of its greater cleaning power, was inserted inside the large upper chamber and dome of the spray dryer, while the Gamajet 8 is positioned in the smaller sized bustle and cone located at the bottom of the unit. During the new cleaning cycle each Gamajet unit is inserted only once resulting in immediate savings in time and manpower.

With the new units, wash times have been reduced to a 15-30 minute cycle and often only one wash is necessary. Because of the Gamajet’s high powered cleaning force, water usage is now estimated to be about 100 gallons per minute. “We estimate that by using the two Gamajet units, we save about two and a half hours in time and around 28390.59 litres of rinse water per cleanup, the Manager says. “And, we also save on the amount of chemicals we use.”

Dairy farmers propose 50 cent increase to milk prices

Dairy farmers have recently been left in the dark as large companies continue to slash milk prices. The farmers are now suggesting a price increase of 50 cents/litre to save the dairy industry.

In a crisis meeting in Victoria last night, dairy farmers and councillors met to discuss the idea of an emergency “milk levy”.

According to Chris Gleeson, president of Farmer Power, the proposed levy would mean the typical consumer would spend an extra $50 on milk per year, “which would solve the crisis of the dairy industry and have food security for our nation”.

Gleeson said the only alternative would be to standardise raw milk pricing for producers.

“Something has to change in this industry; we’ve got to cover costs of production,” Gleeson said in a comment to Fairfax Media.

This comes after dairy processors Murray Goulburn and Fonterra slashed the amount they pay suppliers, with little warning to those dairy framers.

Dairy farmers have since called on Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce to launch an independent review into the Australian dairy industry.

Beston Global Food Company posts first half loss

Beston Global Food Company has posted a statutory net loss after tax of $1.1 million for the six months to Dec. 31, including the costs of the capital raising associated with its IPO.

The company said in a statement, in its first period as a public entity, it recorded half-yearly revenue of $7.6 million and an underlying net profit after tax of $1.7 million.

BFC Chairman, Dr Roger Sexton, said that the Company was pleased with the results it had achieved in a short space of time.

“We are a company in growth mode” he said. “We are investing for growth, and we are acquiring for growth on our journey to become a global food company”.

“BFC is well on its way to becoming one of the few food companies in the world which has its own closed loop supply chain and is able to provide consumers in burgeoning global markets with an authentic, genuine, healthy, verifiably safe, food experience with products sourced substantially from our own raw materials, manufactured substantially in our own factories and sold through our own people on the ground in the markets we aim to serve.”

BFC Chief Executive Officer, Sean Ebert, noted that the Company was in a strong position with high quality assets on its balance sheet, no debt and cash reserves at 31 December of $34.45million.

He said that the focus of BFC in the second half is to continue to make revenue and margin gains in its existing operational businesses while expanding the Company’s revenue base with a number of initiatives which capitalised on the core competencies and capabilities of the Company.

“This included new products and new alliances and distribution arrangements, as well as the generation of new revenue streams based around the BFC patented OZIRIS food safety technology,” Ebert said.

Clog resistant spray nozzles for dairy processing

Commonly used in dairy, food processing and chemical processing applications, the SK and SB Series SprayDry nozzles from Spraying Systems Co offer clog resistant spraying with complete particle size control.

The nozzles provide narrower drop size distribution which can be fine-tuned by adjusting the capacity and pressure of the nozzle. The anti-bearding feature reduces build-up on the nozzle face which eliminates contamination and hot spot concerns.

Clogging is reduced and production time is increased through the Maximum Free Passage (MFP) feature. All MFP cores have at least two slots which produce a more uniform bulk density compared to single slot designs.  

The nozzles are easy to maintain and are available in interchangeable orifice insert/core combinations. 

Up & Go now gluten-free with 4.5 Stars

Sanitarium’s new Gluten Free Up&Go is now available and offers consumers looking to avoid or reduce their gluten intake an expedient breakfast option, while still containing the protein and energy of two Gluten Free Weet-Bix and milk. 

It is also 98.5 per cent fat free, high in fibre and provides half of an adult’s daily calcium requirements.

Jaemes Tipple, Up&Go Brand Manager – Sanitarium, said the company developed the product in response to consumer feedback from the growing population who avoid gluten, and may not always have time for a sit down breakfast.

“We know that approximately 1 in 70 Aussies have Coeliac disease and many others are eliminating or limiting gluten in their diet, so we’ve developed Gluten Free Up&Go to provide a convenient, great-tasting, gluten-free liquid breakfast choice, in addition to the market-leading regular Up&Go.”

“Sanitarium is committed to the health and wellbeing of Australians, and providing nutritious products they love,” he said.

Michelle Reid, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist at Sanitarium, said the new Gluten Free Up&Go has a 4.5 Health Star Rating, under the new Government-led initiative which rates foods from 1⁄2 star to 5 stars, based on their nutritional credentials.

“When you don’t have time for a sit down breakfast and you are needing to avoid gluten, Gluten Free Up&Go is the ideal option for on the run. Gluten Free Up&Go earned 4.5 out of a possible 5 stars due to its protein content and being low in saturated fat and sodium.”

“Gluten Free Up&Go also contains 10 essential vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent choice to help start the day right,” she said.

Nestlé JV set to add cream and confusion to its global ‘nutrition’ portfolio

It has been a very busy few weeks for food behemoth Nestlé. Currently it is in advanced discussions to launch a joint venture with British ice cream manufacturer R&R, owned by private equity firm PAI Partners. 

Those whose memories last longer than two weeks will remember that the company has repeatedly stated that it aims to become a leading manufacturer in the health and wellness industry. So what does this move mean for the allegedly health-focused Nestlé asks Jack Skelly, Euromonitor’s International’s confectionery expert.

Although cynics may suggest that Nestlé has an extremely flabby definition of what constitutes “health”, the reality is that indulgence is an extremely important source of revenue for the company. 

In 2014, confectionery, ice cream and frozen dessert sales accounted for nearly a third – or US$24 billion – of the company’s total food sales. 

Of that US$24 billion, 49 per cent stems from Western Europe and North America. However, these are two markets where many snacking companies are enduring a difficult time, with chocolate confectionery sales achieving just 2 per cent and 4 per cent CAGRs, respectively. By broadening the reach of Callier, Nestlé has smartly moved into the premium segment of chocolate, which is substantially outperforming the overall chocolate market in these two regions.

Nestlé is looking to consolidate its share in a number of fast growing markets, including Egypt, Brazil, and Western Europe. Combined, ice cream and frozen desserts have grown by US$4.9 billion in these three markets between 2010 and 2015. In the latter two markets, the company is significantly overshadowed by Unilever, the world’s largest ice cream manufacturer with 21 per cent global market share. Nestlé has been underperforming, seeing market share decline from 12 per cent to 10 per cent over the last five years.

Both Nestlé and Unilever have been selling off their slow growing food business parts, but ice cream is seen as a growth area, with the global market set to rise to US$107 billion by 2020, up from US$71 billion currently. 

Nestlé has a long-standing working relationship with R&R, with whom it has licensing agreements in place in a number of countries. R&R is extremely strong in Western Europe, where it manufactures a vast range of private label products and ice cream for the likes of Mondelez and Mars.

The company has needed to focus on reversing the fortunes of its ice cream business in Western Europe for some time. Thus, the joint venture is certainly in harmony with a strategic priority for Nestlé.

The partnership with R&R also provides Nestlé with a number of options in ice cream. It could move into a more premium, dairy based ice cream mould. 

This is something that Unilever has had significant success with in relation to its Magnum, Carte D’Or and Ben & Jerry’s ranges, which have contributed an additional US$658 million in sales in Western Europe since 2015. 

However, given Unilever has so effectively cornered this market, an alternative option is to focus on the mass market. Given R&R has extensive expertise in producing private label goods, which are generally aimed at as wide an audience as possible, this could be logistically easier to achieve.

In the medium term, Nestlé certainly has the financial wherewithal to purchase R&R outright. Whether the company will do this is a different question. Certainly, it goes against the health message that features so prominently in Nestlé’s annual reports and investor calls. 

It may be that Nestlé will stay true to its newly found principles, and eventually spin off its ice cream division in several years’ time. However, considering R&R has already been subject to cost-cutting measures during the tenure of PAI Partners, it will be interesting to see how Nestlé could possibly improve efficiencies further, and how it could boost values further. 

Ultimately, with R&R providing such a useful fit, and with ice cream being such a significant cash generator, we may hear Nestlé continue with its Janus-faced approach to business for some time to come.

Euromonitor International Food Analyst Lianne van den Bos noted that, "If the venture goes ahead, Nestlé will be further removed from its aim to be the world’s leading nutrition, health and wellness company. In 2014, a third of Nestlé packaged food sales were generated by its ice cream and chocolate divisions, combine that with its recent global launch of premium Swiss chocolate brand Callier and the company’s health and wellness vision is becoming blurred."

Fonterra pushes efficiencies and cuts 750 jobs

Fonterra Co-operative Group today provided a further update on its business review.

Fonterra Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the purpose of the review was to ensure that Fonterra remains well positioned to compete in a rapidly changing global dairy market.
One-off savings generated by changes the Co-operative is making during the business review, such as improving working capital, have already enabled the Co-operative to support our farmers during challenging market conditions.
The review is an on-going process that looks at the entire business to identify potential areas where the Co-operative can find more efficiencies and improve future performance. This has included a reduction of roles across the Co-operative which to date totals 750 roles.
“We have great people, but we have to make tough decisions to ensure Fonterra remains competitive in this environment. We will continue to fine-tune our organisation to ensure we best support the initiatives identified by our business review,” Mr Spierings said.
“Our business is looking to the future with the momentum, energy and solid plans needed to keep improving performance.”

Beston Global Food Company to buy ADP protein plant

Probiotec has entered into a conditional binding agreement with Beston Global Food Company (BGFC) for the proposed sale of its ADP protein plant in Jervois, South Australia.

The proposed $7 million sale is to be paid in cash, subject to the completion of due diligence by BGFC and the majority of the money would be received on completion.

The agreement contains provisions for Probiotic to obtain ongoing supply of immunoglobulins produced by the plant.

If successful, the directors expect the transaction to be completed by 30 September, 2015.

Last week, BGFC came to the rescue of Murray Bridge milk processor United Dairy Power, by contracting to buy it out of receivership with the goal of supplying its South Australian milk products to Asia.

BGFC – headed by Adelaide businessman Roger Sexton, has, over a period of three years, built up its investments with the view of taking premium clean, green Australian food and beverage products into global markets, particularly China and Asia.


Beston Global Food Company to buy United Dairy Power

Adelaide-based Beston Global Food Company (BGFC) has come to the rescue of Murray Bridge milk processor United Dairy Power, by contracting to buy it out of receivership with the goal of supplying its South Australian milk products to Asia.

BGFC – headed by Adelaide businessman Roger Sexton, has, over a period of three years, built up its investments with the view of taking premium clean, green Australian food and beverage products into global markets, particularly China and Asia.

“A key objective when we established BGFC was to take healthy eating to the world’s growing communities with Australia’s best foods,” Sexton said.

“Our business model is an integrated closed loop supply chain whereby we own the raw materials, take advantage of advanced know-how and technology in the production process and control the marketing and distribution of the end products through Company owned subsidiaries in key global locations.”

“Being able to purchase and revitalise United Dairy Power is a win-win. BGFC has secured additional dairy resources to feed its growing overseas markets. We make an even greater contribution to realising the State’s food export vision, and through our investment we are adding value to a regional economy and keeping local jobs and ownership.”

United Dairy Power, with plants which employed about 130 staff and contractors in Murray Bridge and Jervois in South Australia, was placed in receivership in late April. At the time, it was estimated that the region could lose about $170 million in net wealth as a result of the closures.

The facilities at UDP have been involved in the production of cheese and other milk products for over 40 years but had been operating at only around 30 per cent capacity at the time of the receivership.

 “Our company will invest considerable capital into UDP to upgrade its facilities at Murray Bridge and Jervois, increase the production capacities of the two plants and introduce new products for distribution into China and the ASEAN region by BGFC subsidiaries based in Thailand, Vietnam, China and Brunei,” Sexton said.

Under the ownership of BGFC, the name of UDP will be changed to Beston Pure Foods.


Parmalat issued with notice from EPA following odour complaints

Dairy company Parmalat Food Products has been issued with a Prevention Notice by the EPA following complaints about foul odours coming from its factory in western Sydney.

Neighbours of the dairy processing facility on Birnie Avenue in Lidcombe have complained for the last two months about the problem. Residents have complained that the smell is like ‘sour milk’ and a ‘sewer’.

Following multiple site inspections where EPA officers detected the strong and offensive odours offsite, Parmalat has been issued with the notice requiring them to engage a suitably qualified consultant this week to deliver recommendations to the EPA by May 27.

The consultant will be required to undertake a comprehensive site odour assessment identifying and prioritising potential sources that may be contributing to the offsite odour and developing short, medium and long term management options.

EPA Manager Sydney Industry Greg Sheehy said the Prevention Notice was designed to provide expedited relief to nearby residents and businesses while the EPA’s investigations continue.

The EPA will continue to work with Parmalat throughout this process and encourages anybody with odour concerns about the site to report their complaint to the EPA’s Environment Line on 131 555.

“We believe that the initial odours may have been related to 360,000 litres of wastewater that turned anaerobic so our investigations are looking into why this occurred and how the company then dealt with the incident,” Sheehy said.

“EPA inspections have also identified other potential sources of odour which is why the Prevention Notice requires a range of onsite sources to be investigated.

“These odours have been very unpleasant for neighbours of the Birnie Road site so our aim is to address this issue as quickly as possible.

“By getting an expert on-board to assess the situation we hope to get some practical solutions in place to mitigate the offsite impacts and hopefully eliminate them from re-occurring down the track.”